I got the chance to interview Keri Gans, a registered dietitian about her tips for healthy living and her work with Thomas’s English Muffins and Bagel Thins.
LATB: Keri, you’re an authority on nutrition and healthy living. What do you think is one small, easy change that a busy mom can make to her life that would make a huge difference?
KG: The first thing I always suggest is to plan ahead. Without a plan, things get out of control. It starts with planning meals for the week, including snacks. You have a game plan for what you will be feeding your family and yourself. Create a shopping list from this plan. It seems like a no-brainer but it’s better to plan it out. It simplifies things.
LATB: There are always diet fads coming out. What is one diet fad you really believe in and one you wish would go away?
KG: I wish all would go away. I am not a fan of diet fads. Diet fads don’t work. They’re hot for the moment. They sometimes gain notoriety because a celeb looses weight quickly so others want to do it. These fads aren’t about long-lasting weight loss. Fad diets usually eliminate food groups and I don’t believe that that’s good for being healthy. Fad diets are about exclusion and I focus on inclusion. It’s about a lifestyle change. It’s important for moms not to promote fad diets at home because they don’t make for a food role model.
LATB: What are the most important changes that a woman can make to live a healthier life?
KG: Plan ahead, as we talked about before. Start your day with breakfast. Stop thinking about skipping meals. Food is a friend, an ally. Women need to be eating on a regular basis in order to be healthy. Women equate health with size which is not always the case. I wish they would focus less on numbers on a scale and fucos on nutrition and their well being.
LATB: What are some important things kids need to learn about food at home?
KG: I think that a well balanced diet for a child includes fruits and vegetables. It’s important because kids are resistant to vegetables. Parents need to be role models. You can’t make a child eat a food but you can encourage certain foods. Fruits and vegetables need to be in the house, at all times. There should also be low fat dairy foods, milk, yogurt and whole grain bread. Thomas’ Whole Wheat English Muffin is perfect to have with peanut butter. If the children don’t see these things in the home, they won’t grow up with them. Children won’t let themselves go hungry so they will eat it.
LATB: What’s your take on kids drinking energy drinks? How young is too young for energy drinks?
KG: Children do not need energy drinks. Young is too young. It bothers me when these young kids at a soccer game are drinking Gatorade. They’re for endurance athletes. Maybe a teenage boy can benefit from a sports drink if he’s on a sports team and he’s out in the sun for more than an hour in warm weather. Kids playing in the playground definitely do not need energy drinks. Give them water or low fat milk. 100% fruit juices are also great. Kids should also learn to read food labels so they know what is healthy.
LATB: Do you ever have cheat days? If so, what do you eat?
KG: I do eat foods that aren’t the healthiest for me but I don’t like to call it cheating. I look at it like I’m enjoying myself. If you deprive yourself from your favorite foods, you’ll feel deprived. You’re also more likely to rebel. People need to learn how to include the stuff that might not be the healthiest so they can eat healthy the remaining time. Eat healthy 85% of the time and it’s okay if you’re not the healthiest 15% of the time.
LATB: Tell us about your work with Thomas’s English Muffins and Bagel Thins.
KG: I help create delicious recipes, which are on the Thomas’s English Muffins and Bagel Thins Facebook page. I love the breakfast recipes. I use Thomas’ Whole Wheat Bagel Thins. I feel that breakfast is important. It’s a perfect partnership for Thomas’s English Muffins and Bagel Thins and I. They have a product that I recommend to my patients and on Twitter. I always recommend choosing foods that are high in fiber. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be so complicated for that busy woman. If you have time to hit the snooze button you have time for breakfast.
Keri Gans is a registered dietitian. To find out more about her, go to www.kerigansnutrition.com. Check out Thomas’s English Muffins and Bagel Thins at http://www.facebook.com/ThomasEnglishMuffinsandBagels.